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  Cass County Jail, Page 52Cass County Jail
810 1st Avenue North
Fargo, ND 58108

Fargo, North Dakota
Total Square Feet: 136,604
Construction Period: July 2000 to Aug 2002

Construction Team
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Meinecke Johnson Company, Inc., 5 14th Street North, Fargo, ND 58102
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Heyer Engineering PC, 10 North 8th Street, Fargo, ND 58102
HVAC ENGINEER: Obermiller Nelson Engineering, 2201 12th Street North, Fargo, ND 58102
PLUMBING ENGINEER: John Foss Engineering, 810 4th Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56560
ELECTRICAL & CIVIL ENGINEER: Ulteig Engineers, Inc., 1401 Oak Manor Avenue South, Fargo, ND 58103
MECHANICAL CONTRACTOR: Grants Mechanical, Inc., 3239 15th Street South, Fargo, ND 58104
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: Bergstrom Electric, Inc., 710-B 38th Street NW, Fargo, ND 58102
CORRECTIONAL CONSULTANT: Kimme & Associates, Inc., 510 S. Staley Road, #C, Champaign, IL 61822

In 1998, on the verge of a new century and years of planning, Cass County officials embarked on a venture to provide a safer and more secure confinement facility as set forth by the American Correctional Association, the North Dakota Century Code and the North Dakota Administrative Jail Rules. The constraints of the former jail, built in 1913, could not safely house the growing population of committed inmates nor could it continue to meet the standards set forth by the governing agencies.

April 1999 marked a significant period for Cass County as its citizens voted to authorize a half cent sales tax for up to four years to pay for a new corrections facility. The vision of coordinators was that when the new jail opened it would be completely funded and paid for.

The governing design of the building is relatively simple; a central circulation corridor is utilized to link administrative, support, prisoner transfer, work release and inmate housing areas. This organizational element is used on the first floor to circulate inmates and staff, while on the second level it is primarily used by the visiting general public for non-contact visits and maintenance staff. Each housing pod is defined by the classification and/or gender of the prisoner, the pods include: direct supervision, male/maximum security, female/flex, work release and special needs/classification. Each of the housing clusters has a central naturally lit dayroom with two levels of stacked cells. The design of the building had an initial capacity of 252 beds but can easily expand to 540 beds. Inmates are under constant observation by guards within each housing pod; they are also monitored from a central (single) master control room in the facility. The level of interaction for an inmate is dependant on his/her prisoner classification level. This classification system rewards good behavior and holds others accountable for their actions. The ultimate goal for the County is to provide a safe and secure facility for the inmates and for the community.

Individual housing pods are each equipped with staff control/observations centers, an inmate counseling room, an indoor exercise gymnasium, shared shower facilities, an inmate/public visitation booth area and a two level dayroom-used for activities, meals and television for those who have earned it. The plan configuration of each pod is dependant on the classification level of the inmates, housing sub-divisions (quadrants) of the pod were created where multiple prisoner classifications are housed in the same area.

The jail features an enclosed controlled vehicle sallyport adjacent to the processing/booking area, a work release housing dorm with separate women's dorm, a special needs area containing eight cells for those who may require additional medical attention. The special needs area is also fit-up with two exam rooms, a pharmacy laboratory and a future dental exam room. The facility is equipped to handle medical counseling and rehabilitation counseling. A video court room has been provided with an attorney consult area-this allows the county to arrange video hearings without removing the arrestee from the facility. Inmates who have earned or require training have access to the program areas which includes two classrooms and a
small library. The building also contains a laundry facility, a complete food service area and a maintenance shop/receiving area.

This new facility also provides a number of amenities for the staff including: physical/force training rooms, male/female staff locker rooms, an educational training room and a controlled staff parking area. Safety measures for the staff are crucial within the housing areas and great attention was taken to ensure the security of the staff interacting with the inmates.

The "officer alert-officer down" is a safety system put in place to automatically notify master control in an emergency when an officer has been taken down or is in an altercation with an inmate. The interlocking pneumatically controlled doors add an additional level of security as does the transfer of detainees within the sallyport.

The building's construction type was rated Type 1-FR under the 1997 uniform building code. It has one occupancy separation; the jail has an occupancy-I3 and the sallyport an occupancy-S3. There are two internal horizontal exits within the jail and 11 separate smoke compartments; both the jail and sallyport have an automatic sprinkler protection system throughout. The fire resistive requirements range from 4 hours exterior bearing walls to 1 hour mechanical and hazardous walls. The wall construction is typically reinforced masonry bearing construction, structural steel where used has been fire proofed to exceed the minimum fireproof requirements. Roof decks consist of structural pre-cast decking (min. 6") with topping slabs. Cell mezzanines and cell caps in each housing pod have a structural metal acoustic deck with cast-in-place concrete topping slabs.

Security levels range throughout the facility; all materials provided are security grade however; the type of material may vary between prisoner classifications. There is a stark contrast between a maximum security cell and a direct supervision cell. The 'maximum security level single occupancy cell' has vandal resistant stainless steel plumbing fixtures/ furnishings, a single built-in masonry platform bed and hollow metal detention grade doors/hardware. The 'direct supervision level cell' in comparison has vitreous china plumbing fixtures, stainless steel desks, a security hollow metal bunk bed and security grade wood doors/hardware. Local staff control centers in each pod maintain constant observation and frequent interaction with the inmates. The master control station also maintains observation throughout the facility and has the power to override individual or all staff stations if necessary. All access into and within the jail is monitored by the master control station; security interlocking vestibules provide an additional level of control.

The building is heated by dual fuel boilers (gas and fuel oil) housed in a mechanical room on the first floor serving the air handlers in each of the seven second floor mechanical rooms. The entire facility has been provided with sufficient back-up emergency power generation equal to or greater than 110 percent of the load projections for the entire facility operation.

The design of this facility has not only been a vision realized by Cass County Officials and those who took part in the design process but also for the general public who saw the need to provide a more secure and safe place to lawfully detain committed individuals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

DIV 05:
Acoustical Metal Deck: EPIC® Metals Corporation.
DIV 07: Standing Seam: Petersen Aluminum; Rubber: Firestone; Skylights: Major Industries.
DIV 08: Entrances & Storefronts: Tubelite; Automatic Doors: Hor ton; Glass: Oldcastle.
DIV 09: Suspended Metal Acoustic Security Ceiling: EPIC® Metals Corporation.
DIV 10: Operable Walls: Holcomb & Hoke; Access Flooring: Tate.

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